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Efficient Lynx offense holds off Fever

Few personnel on the Minnesota Lynx could recall a time where they completed a game with just one offensive rebound.

Minnesota guard Seimone Augustus, right, steals the ball after Tan White, left, tipped the ball away from Indiana guard Karima Christmas
Matthew Fleegel
Minnesota forward Maya Moore (23) withstood five turnovers to make key plays in the closing stages, including 11 4th quarter points against Indiana.
Matthew Fleegel

Fortunately, the lack of second chances will represent a mere caveat for the Lynx, who defeated the Indiana Fever 83-77 Sunday night at Target Center.

Minnesota's (11-4) lone offensive rebound went to Maya Moore with 4:00 remaining in the fourth quarter. Almost instantly, she put back a miss from Seimone Augustus to give the Lynx crucial separation from the Fever (6-6), with the two teams effectively trading blows throughout much of the period.

"That was weird. But I'm glad, if I was to get one, that was the one," Moore said.

What Minnesota lost in second chances was made up with accurate shooting, posting a field goal accuracy of 57 percent and free throw rate of 90.5 percent. Indiana had a hard time finding the rim, making just 37.1 percent of their shots.

After the Lynx built a 29-18 lead early in the second quarter, the Fever rallied with a 23-6 run to end the frame, leading 41-35 at halftime. Indiana forced 10 steals in the first half, swiping lackadaisical passes to pounce on a team who was playing their sixth game in the last 10 days.

"We continued to be lax with the ball as if we were the only people in the gym, so we had a heart-to-heart at halftime," said Lynx head coach Cheryl Reeve.

Her speech registered with the players, who erased the deficit by attacking frequently in the third quarter to get in the bonus and score from the free throw line. After Minnesota evened the score at 51 midway through the third, neither team would extend the lead beyond five for the rest of the game.

The Lynx weathered late miscues in the fourth, including Janel McCarville fouling out, to end their busiest stretch of the season with a victory.

Moore led all players with 25 points, scoring 19 in the second half. In addition to the put-back, Moore brought a litany of timely baskets in the final stanza.

"When we're in control and poised, we get great stuff," Moore said. "A couple of good screens, trying to get inside against a team that puts a lot of pressure on you. You have to fight pressure with pressure."

Lindsay Whalen and Seimone Augustus chipped in with 16 points, with Whalen posting perfect marks from the floor (5 of 5) and charity stripe (6 of 6). Devereaux Peters added 9 points, 6 rebounds and 3 blocks off the bench in her most productive outing of the season as she bounces back from a knee scope that sidelined her to start the year.

Returning to form has been bumpy for Peters, often finding herself in foul trouble quickly in games. On Sunday, she was only tagged once, holding up well at the center position when Janel McCarville had to sit.

"Starting to get a better feel for the game. I didn't have my quickness back. I had to learn to play in a new body essentially," Peters said.

Karima Christmas paced the Fever with 18 points, 8 rebounds and 5 steals. Briann January and Shavonte Zellous added 16 points, but neither player established a rhythm on the floor.

"We just have to execute better. In the first half, we had a lot of turnovers. If we cut down on that toward the end, we could have played better down the stretch," Christmas said.

Minnesota gets four days off before a home-and-home weekend with Seattle. The Lynx are eager to resume practice on Tuesday. Their last official practice was June 12, one day before the infamous grind began.

"I've never been so excited for practice in my life," Peters said.

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